WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Travelscape, LLC v. Domains By Proxy, LLC / Travelo City
Case No. D2018-2776
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Travelscape, LLC of Bellevue, Washington, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Kilpatrick Stockton, LLP, United States.
The Respondent is Domains By Proxy, LLC of Scottsdale, Arizona, United States / Travelo City of Dubai, United Arab Emirates (“UAE”).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <travelocitylimited.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 4, 2018. On December 5, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 5, 2018, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on December 10, 2018 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on December 11, 2018.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Supplemental Rules”).
In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on December 12, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 1, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 4, 2019.
The Center appointed Steven A. Maier as the sole panelist in this matter on January 14, 2019. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is a limited liability company located in the state of Washington, United States. It is a provider of consumer-direct travel services for the leisure and business traveller.
The Complainant or its affiliated companies are the owners of registrations in various territories for trademarks comprising or including the name TRAVELOCITY. These trademarks include, for example:
- United States trademark number 2254700 for TRAVELOCITY, registered on June 22, 1999 in Classes 35, 39 and 42, for goods and services including travel and hotel reservation services
- UAE trademark number 140844 for TRAVELOCITY, registered on December 10, 2012 in Class 43, for goods and services including hotel information and reservation services
The disputed domain name was registered on March 6, 2017.
According to evidence submitted by the Complainant, the disputed domain name resolved on May 16, 2018 to a website at “www.travelocitylimited.com” which was headed “Travelocity Limited” and appeared to offer holiday packages in Dubai priced in United States dollars.
The disputed domain name does not appear currently to resolve to any active website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant states that it has operated the TRAVELOCITY brand since 1996 and that is one of the world’s most recognized travel operators, servicing more than 20 million customers every month. It states that it is currently owned by Expedia Inc. It exhibits extracts from its website at “www.travelocity.com” where it states that it provides reservation information for over 700 airlines, 50,000 hotels and 50 car rental companies. The Complainant states that it has extensively promoted its TRAVELOCITY brand through online, print and television media as well as on social media platforms and exhibits evidence in support of this claim. It also provides evidence of industry recognition and awards and submits that, as a result of these matters, the TRAVELOCITY brand has acquired a high degree of public recognition worldwide and embodies valuable commercial reputation and goodwill. The Complainant exhibits specific evidence of its services in the UAE.
The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which it has rights. It states that the disputed domain name, <travelocitylimited.com>, incorporates its distinctive trademark TRAVELOCITY in its entirety, together with the addition of the term “limited”. The Complainant submits that this descriptive addition does not serve to distinguish the disputed domain name from the Complainant’s trademark, and implies on the contrary that it is the corporate name of the Complainant. The Complainant contends that, given the reputation of the Complainant’s trademark, consumers will be confused into believing the disputed domain name is related to the Complainant.
The Complainant submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. It states that it has no connection with the Respondent and has not licensed or permitted the Respondent to use its TRAVELOCITY mark. Further, the Complainant denies that the Respondent has made either bona fide commercial use or legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name. The Complainant contends that, on the contrary, the Respondent has sought to “piggyback” on the reputation and goodwill that attaches to the Complainant’s TRAVELOCITY trademark by using the disputed domain name to operate a competing travel booking website. The Complainant says that, even if the Respondent calls itself “Travelocity Limited”, it could not do so legitimately given the existence of the Complainant’s longstanding trademark and that the Respondent’s website offering cannot, therefore, give rise to rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant contends that, given the notoriety of the TRAVELOCITY mark, which had been widely known for many years before the Respondent registered the disputed domain name, the Respondent can only have registered the disputed domain name with the intention of leveraging the goodwill attaching to the Complainant’s trademark. The Complainant further submits that, even if the Respondent is offering actual travel services from its website, it cannot be doing so in good faith as it is offering those services on the back of its misleading use of the Complainant’s trademark.
The Complainant also submits that, in addition to concealing its identity behind a privacy service, the Respondent has provided false contact details on its website. Specifically, the Complainant submits that while the Respondent has listed an address at “10th Floor, Elite Towers, Abu Dhabi” there is no business address of that name.
The Complainant requests the transfer of the disputed domain name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In order to succeed in the Complaint, the Complainant is required to show that all three of the elements set out under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy are present. Those elements are:
(i) that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has established that it is the owner of registered trademark rights in the name and mark TRAVELOCITY in multiple territories, including the UAE. The disputed domain name comprises the terms “travelocity” and “limited” as well as the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”, which is typically to be disregarded for the purpose of assessing confusing similarity. The Panel accepts the Complainant’s submission that the addition of the term “limited” to the Complainant’s trademark TRAVELOCITY is not effective to distinguish the disputed domain name from that trademark, but rather affirms the association with the Complainant by suggesting that it represents a corporate name of the Complainant. The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
In the view of the Panel, the Complainant’s submissions referred to above give rise to a prima facie case for the Respondent to answer that it has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. However, the Respondent has failed to participate in these proceedings and has neither provided an explanation for its choice of the disputed domain name nor advanced any submissions concerning any rights or legitimate interests that it may claim to have in the disputed domain name. While the Panel notes that the Respondent has purported to trade under the name “Travelocity Limited”, it has offered no answer to the Complainant’s reasonable claim that it can only have done so in the knowledge of the Complainant’s long-established and widely-known TRAVELOCITY mark for similar services and with the intention of benefitting unfairly from the goodwill attaching to that trademark. In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Similar considerations apply to the element of bad faith. In particular, in view of the Complainant’s long-established use of the TRAVELOCITY mark for travel services in numerous territories including the UAE, and in the absence of any contradiction on the part of the Respondent, the Panel infers on balance that the Respondent registered and has used the disputed domain name in the knowledge of the Complainant’s TRAVELOCITY trademark and with the intention of taking unfair commercial advantage of the goodwill attaching to that trademark. In particular, the Panel finds that, by using the disputed domain name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainants’ trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website or of a product or service on its website (paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy).
The Panel therefore concludes that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name, <travelocitylimited.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Steven A. Maier
Date: January 28, 2019